By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Amazon’s move is a boon for digital newspapers

The future of digital newspapers just got a lot more interesting.

The New York Times reports that Amazon has decided to let newspaper and magazine publishers have a 70 percent cut of Kindle revenues, a substantial increase over the current 30 percent. In order to qualify, though, those publishers will have to agree to let Amazon sell subscriptions to anyone who has a device with Kindle software installed on it. (Unlike books, you had to have Amazon’s Kindle hardware device in order to download newspapers and magazines.)

When that happens, you’ll be able to read the Kindle editions of your favorite newspapers and magazines on an iPad, a smartphone or the forthcoming Google tablets.

Given the halting nature of newspaper and magazine rollouts for the iPad (stemming in large measure from a dispute between Apple and publishers over who gets to see customer data), this is a boon on two levels. It gives non-Kindle tablet owners a viable workaround until Apple and the publishers can get their act together — and it provides Apple with a huge incentive to make that happen, along with some rare leverage for the publishers.

Meanwhile, John Ellis points to an analysis showing that paid online distribution may have a future: at Rupert Murdoch’s Times of London, online readership is down but revenues are way up since the Times erected a pay wall earlier this year.

Earlier: “The resurrection will be slightly delayed.”

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  1. Laurence Kranich

    Hopefully they will come up with a better navigation system and display than what I’ve seen on the Kindle. The newspapers I’ve tried to read on my Kindle are like 1000 page paperback books, except I want to skip through about 500 pages of them.

    At least it would give me some way to read the Globe on my iPad. It’s annoying that the iPad has been out for 7 months, I’ve been reading the Herald on it for 6 of those months, and the Globe still has nothing to show for it. Even the Salem News is now on PressReader.

  2. Martin Callaghan

    Online readership down, revenues up after pay-wall? Sounds like Globe’s price increase strategy.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Martin: Exactly. Not sure if either will work in the long run. Hard to let go of the free-supported-by-advertising model, though that has clearly been a failure so far. Interesting times.

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